Practitioners Who Care for Patients with Migraine Diseases and Headache Disorders Should Review Updated Qualifications and Register Soon


The National Headache Foundation (NHF) announced its Fall certification exam for its Certificate of Added Qualification in Headache Medicine (AQH) program. The deadline for applying to NHF to take the certification exam is August 23, and the Fall exam will be administered online from September 1-14.

Tom Dabertin, NHF Executive Director/CEO, said AQH certification is important because of the increasing incidence of headache and migraine issues among patients. He added that 40 million Americans experience headache disorders and migraine disease – one in four of us. “The NHF AQH certification offers validation of one’s expertise in headache medicine to be recognized by your patients and colleagues,” noted Dabertin.

To be eligible for the AQH competency examination, a candidate must be a licensed healthcare practitioner who evaluates and manages headache patients independently, including physicians (M.D. and D.O.), physicians assistants, advance practice nurses, dentists, and clinical psychologists.

Each candidate must provide documentation of the following criteria regarding license, continuing education, and experience:

  • License-The candidate’s license must be in good standing.
  • Continuing Education-Completion of at least 20 hours, over the last year, of continuing education focusing on headache medicine.
  • Experience-Meet one of the following options:
    • At least one or more years of experience at a headache clinic or Headache Center of Excellence (HCoE), subject to review by NHF’s AQH Oversight Committee, or
    • At least three years of experience managing headache medicine in other clinical settings, or
    • A professional who has completed an accredited Neurology residency (MD or DO), or
    • A professional who has successfully completed a headache fellowship, as approved by the NHF’s AQH Oversight Committee.

For more details and to register for the Fall AQH exam –

NHF board member, Dr. Timothy R. Smith, MD, RPh, FACP, AQH, said, “The AQH certification examination was developed in 2012 and implemented by the NHF as a direct response to requests from patients with disabling headache disorders who desperately want to identify healthcare providers who care about headache and have earned a reliable credential supporting competency in their field.  Clinicians working in the practice of headache management who want to assure excellent care for their patients and want to challenge themselves to be the best they can be.”

Smith said a year ago, NHF expanded AQH certification qualifications to reflect the increased patient incidence of headache and migraine disorders and to encourage caregivers serving our nation’s Veterans.

As a resource to those seeking the full list of AQH professionals, the NHF maintains an online directory that can be found at: